Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412939584 | Print ISBN: 9780761930877 | Online ISBN: 9781412939584 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Jeffrey S. Brooks
It is somewhat incorrect to posit that existential philosophy is a coherent philosophic system; as such, there is no single existentialism . Major figures associated with existential thought, including Friedrich Nietzsche, Søren Kierkegaard, Martin Heidegger, Karl Jaspers, Karl Marx, Jean-Paul Sartre, Erich Fromm, Martin Buber, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, A. S. Neill, Simone de Beauvoir, Maxine Greene, Albert Camus, and Franz Kafka, represent diverse and at times opposed views on critical issues. Still, several thematic foci undergird the work of these philosophers-labeled-existential. Among these are a focus on the individual and on personal freedom, a focus on the imperatives of free will and individual choice, and a focus on future-oriented self-actualization. The individual is at the center of existential philosophy. This is at once elating and burdensome: the paradox of freedom is that it is at once a condemnation and a joy. Existential philosophers have written that the individual is ...